Archive for Digital Organization

I know it takes time to plan a little Architecture. Sure it’s easier to set it up as you go (I’ll remember my password- I use the same one every time- that always works til it doesn’t). You can always come back later to connect the dots. Right? You can add the foundation after you build the house. Can’t you? Well I guess you can but my question to you is which is easier? To lay the foundation before you begin or to come back, jack up the house and add it later. The former may appear to get you moving faster but the latter will cost you far more time and money later.

Do you find yourself opting for the short term gain of taking action when compared with the long term gain of planning which saves time and money? I’m not talking strategy. I’m not talking business plans. I’m talking some architecture. Some decisiveness. Now I agree with the refinement approach. I say get it out there. I’ve written about perfection versus imperfection. I’m all for shipping as Seth Godin might say, but not at the expense of thinking just a wee bit first laddy.

Example- you get moving so fast that you look up and notice you have:

  • 2 domain registrars
  • 3 hosting companies
  • 2 webmail accounts, one Gmail account a and a Yahoo account
  • 2 CRM’s
  • 2 personal facebook accounts (whoops didn’t realize the fan page was for your business)
  • Several websites on different platforms with broken links and no taxonomy whatsoever

What could have been different if you’d made some architectural decisions along the way? We’re going to host with Hostgator or Bluehost. We’re registering all our domains with Godaddy. We are going to host our email and calendar sharing with a corporate Google Apps account. We are going to set up Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and LinkedIn correctly the first time. We’re going to document our passwords along the way in a secure but retrievable place. We’re going to put together a quick sitemap before we launch the next micro site or blog. We are going to collaborate with Basecamp. I’m an affiliate of some of these but they aren’t links so I guess I’m cool.

Pause, Think, Decide ( A Committed One), Ship, Refine, Repeat


Organizing for Less Stress

Posted by: | Comments (0)

Recently, I was presented with the opportunity to conduct a workshop on organization (one of my passions obviously) at Lowe Chiropractic and Wellness. I had a few weeks to prepare for the topic “Organizing for Less Stress”. The topic made me rethink why I promote organization and productivity.

Why get organized? I came up with 4 big reasons.

  1. Free Your Mind for Creativity
  2. Free Your Calendar for Opportunities
  3. Free Your Life for the Important
  4. Free Your Home for the Essential

Second Question- How to get organized?

I broke it down into 3 areas which you can start working on today.

This is a simplistic cliff notes version, but it may be just enough to get you to act and not enough to overwhelm you into inaction.

Your Physical Space

Physical clutter leads to Mental clutter so use the Sort, Purge, Assign, Containerize, Assess system to rid your home, office, business and life of clutter.

Once you have removed the debris and cloudiness from your life, put things back in their home when you’re finished using them. If you fail here, you’ll be back at the previous step far too often. These two steps will renew your focus like you would not believe.

The label maker is your friend. Don’t rely on your memory. Label things to make them easier to locate.

When creating habits centered around your new found organization, do not lie to yourself and break commitments with yourself continually. When you break your word to yourself you’re putting yet another obstacle between you and a changed habit.

Getting Things Done

Learn how to master ubiquitous capture made famous by David Allen’s GTD book and training. Instead of letting thoughts, ideas, tasks, notes and projects fester in your mind, or even worse losing some of them; capture these thoughts in a system- preferably the GTD system. Get those open loops out of your head. They are holding you in bondage anyway.

Implement the someday/maybe tickler system. For example:

  • Someday/Maybe books to read
  • Someday/Maybe trips to take
  • Someday/Maybe advertising options
  • Someday/Maybe events to attend

Don’t let these someday/maybes hog the space that belongs to your next most important actions or your key project lists and plans. Keep them in their own little system and review then as part of your weekly review.Use physical file folder, use Backpack or use a simple text file; the tool doesn’t matter as much as the system itself.

Use the inbox zero philospophy taught here.

Do the aforementioned weekly review. Take 2-4 hours each week and scan every placeholder or collection bucket in your system. Follow David Allen’s flowchart in his book. You’ll have to buy it or visit his website to see if it’s referenced there.

Productivity Techniques

Pareto Principle- apply the 80/20 rule liberally to your life, home and business. It’s a great liberator.

Batching-let those routine tasks with high startup times accumulate and do them at a set time.

Parkinson’s Law-a task or project will contract or expand based on the amount of time you allow for it. Put this to work for you by planning time and projects tightly.

Elimination- say no and get rid of more stuff.

Outsourcing- find ways to delegate some of what you do to others for less per hour. Virtual assistants and outsourcing services come to mind.

Routine-makes somethings part of a daily, weekly or monthly routine. Similar to batching yet different. The credits here go to the 4 hour workweek.


21) Organize your online presence

Posted by: | Comments (0)

If I had it do to all over again this past year, here is what I would do.

As a caveat, everything I post will be antiquated simultaneously when I hit the publish button.

Things change so fast right now on the web. You have to balance picking a point to stake out your ground and keeping an eye open for the really good stuff that comes out. The stuff you just can’t afford to ignore.

So, here is what I would have done this past year. I would have purchased a domain with my company name for a brochure type website. Maybe something done by someone with some good CSS skills and graphic design experience. I wasted weeks on this.

I would have purchased a catchier, snarky, simpler, unique domain to host a WordPress blog connected to the main website. I would never update the brochure site. I would update the WordPress site daily with great content.

I would have started every other blog on WordPress using ithemes theme club.

I would have used Tumblr to set up my personal blog.

I would use to Squidoo to organize and create any other information like sales pages, info pages, free reports, how to pages and basically everything else. I would have purchased less domain names and devoted more time to developing the ones I had.

I would have used Twitter more often and sooner. I would have used Twitter more often and sooner. I would have used Twitter more often and sooner.

I would have come up with a turnkey way to take pictures, shoot videos, edit them, upload them and share them. In other words I would have purchased a MAC book much sooner that I did.

I would make sure I had every website and blog and Squidoo lens linked back and forth to the others.

I would balance these endeavors the best I could while staying productive and getting things done.


18) Organize your Mac

Posted by: | Comments (1)

I just bought a MAC about 3 months ago. So I’m not going to pretend to tell you how to organize a MAC. I am quite the amateur on a MAC. I am getting much better and learning a lot each day-so much so that sometimes I feel less comfortable working on my PC.

Still all that being said- if you read this blog and if you don’t have time to keep up with productivity type blogs, then here are a few links to get you started organizing and optimizing you MAC.

Merlin Mann takes you on a tour of his Menu bar and desktop on the MAC.

Lifehacker’s top 10 things you forgot your MAC could do.

Lifehacker’s guide for switching to a MAC.

Comments (1)

15) Organize GTD with Backpack

Posted by: | Comments (0)

Backpack: InboxAfter reading a post from Russell Quinn at Spoiled Milk I was inspired to rethink the way I use GTD in combination with Backpack. I have borrowed some from Russell’s system, kept some of my own system and incorporated some other ideas as well. This has all become possible with the great news that you can reorder your sidebar in Backpack.

If you read Russell Quinn’s explanation you will quickly see that I have borrowed the Dropbox/Inbox home page tip. Which I think was the most powerful for me. Before my homepage was a hodgepodge of next action lists, ideas, my @task lists, and even some projects made there way onto the homepage. Next I borrowed the ^ Tasks, ^ Projects, ^ Waiting For, ^ Tickler, ^ To Buy, ^ Someday/Maybe although I was already using a few of these in a similar manner.

The next series of pages are prefixed with *. These pages are strictly reference pages which I might need certain days of the week, times of the month and during meetings.

The next series of pages are prefixed with @. All these pages are projects with more than five actions. Those I keep at the top of the page in the ^ Projects Page. Some of these projects are recurring like my Squidoo lenses, my weekly ezine and some annual events I organize.

Another prefix I use is $ and this marks all the pages for my blogs. These are blogs I run and ones I contribute to with others. It’s easy for me to take ideas in my inbox/dropbox daily and move them into the appropriate @ blog page.

Last is a list with no prefix. These are pages I share with small business and non profit customers. We collaborate on work for their wordpress blogs or social media campaigns. I also use these pages to share video tutorials and screencasts for training and digital coaching purposes.

Backpack is so great and there are so many uses. I recommend it to everyone. Whether you are a small business, a solo professional or a freelancer, sign up for a free account or trial.